The Inverell Shire Council’s draft Crime Prevention Plan places Inverell in the state’s Top 10 areas for domestic violence.
Councillors of the Economic and Community Sustainability Committee on Wednesday were dismayed by the results.
Cr Kate Dight found the spike in sexual assault in all three areas to be “unbelievable”, and a justification of the council’s efforts to combat domestic violence.
The statistics are grim: domestic violence in the Inverell Local Government area is almost 150 per cent higher than the NSW average; assault (non-domestic violence) is 33 per cent higher; malicious damage to property is 67 percent higher; and breaking and entering is 246 per cent higher.
A lot has been done by Inverell, in particular to combat domestic violence and make people more aware. Cr Paul King said education has made people more vocal. “There’s a lot more people actually putting their hand up for domestic violence. That’s where the spike comes from and that’s a good thing. A lot more people are informed and aware of what domestic violence is,” Cr King said.
Cr Neil McCosker made the observation that the increase in people’s awareness of what constitutes certain crimes has been across the board, and not just in Inverell. “If one takes the state of NSW as a whole to start off with, then we can compare. We have spiked in Inverell,” Cr McCosker said.”There is no reason or explanation that I can find in this report as to why we have spiked.”
Trying to find possible answers as to why the stats don’t reflect the Council’s efforts and seemingly obvious success, Cr Stewart Berryman pointed to a distortion in the figures as a result to the addition of Tingha numbers added to those of Inverell for the first time. “We have these figures included in our LGA,” Cr Berryman said.
On a more positive note, the findings show that methamphetamine use is comparatively lower than the rest of the state, with minimal use of ecstasy. Inverell’s location has helped in this direction. “We aren’t in the same boat as places like Moree and Glen Innes,” Said ISC General Manager Paul Henry, who believes that Inverell’s location may have helped.
Fraud also is 63 per cent lower than the NSW average. And findings also indicate that Inverell LGA has a statistically lower occurrence of the majority of prevalent criminal activities than its regional counter-parts making Inverell a safer regional centre in the New England/North West.
The report that has already been presented to the Aboriginal Consultative Committee shows a disproportionate representation of alleged indigenous offenders.
- The report that has comparative graphs with Armidale and Tamworth is available on the Inverell Shire Council’s website.